Chinooks, local legion squads set to begin league play
A heavy rain fell Monday morning, but the clouds lifted by early afternoon and a friendly summer sun appeared.
With it came summer.
Opening Day of the Alaska Baseball League season is as much a sign of summer as chinooks returning to Ship Creek, and this year’s arrived at Mulcahy Stadium in Anchorage on a breeze smelling of hope and grilled hot dogs as Chugiak-Eagle River’s own “Fighting Fish” began their 2017 run with a 5-2 exhibition loss to the Anchorage Bucs.
At home in Chugiak-Eagle River since 2012, the Chinooks begin their regular ABL season Wednesday, June 7, with a game at Hermon Brothers Field in Palmer against the Mat-Su Miners. The teams are scheduled to play the inbound end of their two-game Glenn Highway collision Thursday, June 8, the home opener at Lee Jordan Field at the Loretta French Sports Complex in Chugiak.
This year’s home Opening Day festivities begin at 6:40 p.m. Thursday, June 8, with pregame ceremonies to honor the Chugiak-Volunteer Fire and Rescue Department, Mayor Ethan Berkowitz and Lee Jordan. Jordan — who serves as a director of the Chinooks Booster Club board and was one of the key drivers of the Chinooks’ move to Chugiak — will be honored in a ceremony unveiling a new sign in his honor.
The first pitch will be thrown out by members of the CVFRD, who this year are celebrating their 65th year of operation. The department was one of the team’s initial sponsors when it arrived in Chugiak. The firefighters will also have fire equipment and volunteers on site to meet the public.
The game begins at 7 p.m. at the field, which is located at 18100 Old Glenn Highway (near Alice Mae’s). All games at Lee Jordan are free admission.
The Chinooks are one of five teams in the ABL. Last year the squad — which is managed by Ohio-based Athletes in Action — finished with a 17-27 record. Players in the league come from universities around the country; this year’s Chinooks roster includes players from 19 different colleges. The team is coached by Jon Groth with assistance from Chris Matthews and Andrew Towns. Athletes in Action Baseball Director Chris Beck serves as the team’s general manager and pitching coach, and sports information director Caleb Duarte will broadcast games live online on the team’s Chinooks Radio YouTube channel.
Following Thursday’s contest, the Chinooks go on the road June 9-13 for four straight games at Mulcahy, alternating against the Anchorage Glacier Pilots and Anchorage Bucs. On June 15 the Chinooks travel back to the Mat-Su for another game against the rival Miners at Hermon Brothers.
The Chinooks are at home six times in seven days between June 16 and 22, with the only exception a June 20 trip to Palmer. For more information about the Chinooks, visit the team online at cerchinooks.com or find them on Facebook, where.
Legion teams play ball
The Chugiak and Eagle River American Legion baseball teams are in action.
The two local squads squared off in a nonconference game Monday, June 5 at a sun-drenched Oberg Field in Peters Creek. Eagle River came out on top 2-1, but the game was only for bragging rights as the conference season doesn’t get underway until Wednesday, June 7, when Eagle River takes on Service at Koskinski Fields and Chugiak Post 33 faces Bartlett at Bartlett.
Chugiak is back in action Thursday, June 8, for a 6:30 p.m. game against Service at Oberg. Eagle River’s next game is Friday, June 9, a nonleague game against Kodiak at Kodiak.
The 16-team Alaska Legion Baseball league is broken into two division, with each team playing 18 league games — two each against its seven division opponents and four crossover games against teams outside their division. Chugiak and Eagle River play in the National Division along with Service Post 28, East Post 34, Bartlett Post 29, Juneau Post 25, Ketchikan Post 3 and Kodiak Post 17. Eagle River is the only team in the league not affiliated with an American Legion post.
For more information on the league, including schedules and updates on upcoming tournaments and camps, visit alaskalegion.com.